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Promoting Safe and Stable Families supports the following program areas:

Family Support Services:
Parent Support Services
Early Intervention
Placement Prevention
Healthy Marriage and Co-Parenting Initiatives
Relative Caregiver Support
Substance Abuse Treatment & Recovery Support
Family Preservation Services

Therapeutic and Crisis Intervention

Residential After-Care Services
Relative (formal) Caregiver Time-Limited Reunification Services
Time-Limited Reunification Services

Family Visitation and Access Centers

Professional Interventions and Supports
Post Substance Abuse Treatment and Transitional Support Services
Adoption Promotion & Support Services

Foster Care Transitional & Emancipation Support

Pre- and Post-Adoption
Support Services





















Network News

New DHR Commissioner Experienced in Human Services Reform and a Former Foster Parent

Governor Sonny Perdue has appointed Beverly J. Walker the new commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR), where she will oversee a $3 billion budget and about 20,000 employees.

Walker, 54 and a former foster parent, comes to Atlanta from Chicago, where she served as chief of Human Infrastructure for the office of Mayor Richard Daley for the past five years. As the city’s chief mayoral aide for human services agencies and departments, she led and coordinated efforts to promote and support the well-being of the city’s children and families.

“Beverly Walker is an incredible find for the State of Georgia,” according to Bruce Cook, chairman of the DHR Board. “She’s a transformational leader with solid experience operating large, complex human services organizations in addition to having values that closely align with Governor Perdue’s objectives.”

Walker’s previous experience includes serving as assistant to Illinois Governor Jim Edgar for Human Services Reform from 1995-1997. In that capacity she managed a statewide human services reform effort and a major reorganization of the state’s human services agencies. She subsequently served two years as director of Community Operations for the Illinois Department of Human Resources, where she managed 5,400 employees.

Walker holds a master’s degree in history from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in religion from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.




2004 Promoting Safe and Stables Families Award Recipients Presented at the Annual Safe Families Symposium

Five Year Service Certificates
Athens Area Child Abuse Prevention Council
Augusta-Richmond Community Partnership
Center for Black Women’s Wellness
DeKalb County Extension Service
Douglas County Board of Commissioners
Family Support Council
Hall-Dawson CASA
Prevent Child Abuse – Gainesville
Rockdale Coalition for Children & Families
Rome-Floyd Commission on Children & Youth
Savannah Area Family Emergency Shelter

You Make the Difference Award
Awards presented in recognition for the agency and its staff for their dedication and innovative approaches to providing services to Georgia’s children and families.

Hall-Dawson CASA
Family Relations Program
Ashtree Organization

Above and Beyond Award
Award presented in honor of this agency’s unwavering advocacy for the prevention of child abuse and their continued dedication in the field of child welfare.

Prevent Child Abuse Georgia

Survey Results: PSSF Providers Cite Improvements in Services and Challenges for Families

PSSF Increases Services and Accessibility
In the 2004 PSSF contractor survey, providers said PSSF makes a difference in their communities by increasing services offered, making services more accessible and giving providers the ability to serve more families, particularly support services for families in under-served areas. “We have been able to double our services, and in some areas even triple the number of children and families that we serve,” said one provider.

Most providers agreed there is improved service coordination and increased awareness of services because of PSSF funding. Many other benefits noted included the ability to hire bilingual staff, increase service quality, provide in-home education and support and independent living/life skills services. PSSF provides a “safety net for families not eligible for other services,” said another.

Complex Family Problems Put or Keep Families at Risk
The top family challenges that put children and families at risk are poor parenting skills, limited financial resources, mental/emotional health issues, substance abuse and a lack of education and/or life skills.

Multiple issues are also a concern: “The families we work with have such a multitude of problems, from substance abuse, [to] low educational levels, to poverty, that it is very difficult for agencies to address all of their issues,” and “Children . . . are presenting with multiple problems that are not being addressed. If they are not helped, they will become dysfunctional adults.”

Transportation and Awareness are Key Barriers for Families
Transportation is clearly an obstacle for many families. “The main obstacle . . . in our community continues to be the lack of dependable, affordable transportation,” said one. “We serve three counties . . . the families in the outside counties have difficulties coming up with transportation or gas money to utilize the center’s services,” said another.

While providers indicated there is increased awareness of services, many also commented that a lack of awareness keeps families from accessing services: Families “never knew there was a shelter that would assist them in getting their life together, or [that] DFCS would assist in child care or that there were agencies to help financially.”

DFCS County Office Caseloads and Turnover Concern Providers
Providers said DFCS caseloads and turnover create issues for families and service coordination. “The overworked caseworkers . . . are working more family cases with less staff,” and, “When we report back [on the family], there is a new caseworker, and they don’t know anything about [the family].”

Respondents to the online survey included 169 providers from 52 counties. Most were executive directors or program coordinators (64 percent); others included caseworkers, supervisors, other staff and direct service workers such as therapists and advocates.

Heard It On The Street

Successfully Reunifying Families – a Focus on Visitation Centers
In an effort to support the transition of children out of foster care and into the care of their own families in a safe and stable environment, PSSF supports a growing number of visitation centers throughout the state by funding family visits as well as related services to support families through the process of reunification.

Visitation centers allow children who have been placed in foster care to visit with their families in a comfortable, more homelike environment than might be found in a county office. Visitation staff and volunteers monitor and document family visits, providing valuable input to juvenile court judges deciding child placements.

Many visitation programs also provide intervention and support services, helping parents to interact appropriately with their children through educational classes, modeling appropriate behaviors, and setting up family-oriented activities – even cooking together at some locations equipped with kitchens.

Of 1,104 families who exited visitation services in FFY 2003, 72 percent (794) had positive outcomes for their children – either the children remained safely in the home, the family was reunified or there was a stable relative placement.

Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program
Georgia Department of Human Resources
Division of Family and Children Services
2 Peachtree Street, Suite 21-292 Atlanta, GA 30303